Unreal Chapter 3 Preview!


“Hey!” Skreee.

The first a rather forceful greeting, the second the sound of Mallory’s sneakers squeaking to a halt against the tiny toy store’s tile floor.

Meiko’s head turned quickly towards the sound, her hands almost dropping the boxed doll that she was examining. Her frown deepened like a strip mine on seeing who had ‘Hey’d her.

“I thought I told you to stay put, Houseboy,” she barked off. “I said I’d be back in a minute, so–”

In terms of expected / projected behavior, Meiko was figuring on one of two reactions from her Houseboy.

1. Begging apology for interrupting and backing slowly out of the store while mumbling.
2. A slim chance of an angry reaction for how she yelled at him, which would lead to more yelling, which she really wanted to do despite not wanting to lose control.

Instead, she got

3. A friendly smile, and a slow approach as Mallory studied the toy she held in her hands.

“You’re buying a toy for Eiko, right?” he asked, tone upbeat but not overly so. In control of himself, unlike others present. “Isn’t that a Aquarius Waterslide Biiko™?”

It took Meiko multiple moments to come to grips with option 3, but her business sense took control: when your opponent in negotiation was calm and you were emotional, he had leverage. And she wouldn’t allow that. She had to try…

“…yes, it’s a Biiko™ doll,” she replied, holding the box up to study the swimsuit-wearing 1/6th size woman inside. “How do you know that?”

“Because she already has one,” Mallory replied smoothly. “So you should probably pick something else… ah, no no, not that one, she already has that Kensuke™… err, Meiko? What’s wrong?”

The second box she had picked up crumpled slightly in her grip. And she gave up on keeping her control.

“…I should have known that,” she replied, quietly. Half angry, half.. other. “I should know what dolls she has. I give her the allowance to buy them. I’ve played dollhouse with her before… I’m her sister and I should know these things. I have to spend a lot of money to keep up my business wardrobe, so much I can’t even get her a new dollhouse, but the least I can do is buy her a doll… and even if I haven’t played with her lately, I should certainly know things that even my Houseboy knows…”

“Well, uh, she DOES have a lot of dolls,” he replied, taking the box from her hands to put back on the shelf. “I doubt even she could list them all from memory. So we just pick one that we don’t THINK she has, and cross our fingers and throw salt over our shoulder while looking for a tea stem turned upright. Right?”

“You’re not her big brother, you know. I don’t like her calling you that.”

“Huh?”

“I’m the only family she has,” Meiko spoke, turning to face Mallory… a serious expression, but no longer with anger. “I’ve done my best to raise her, to nurture her interests and encourage her towards her future… because nobody else would. You remember what I told you the day we had the Ping Pong match, right?”

“The match…? I… uh, I think I… ah! Right! You’re a Ping Pong champion! Of… of an… oh. Oh, right…”

“Seven Lucky Gods Street Orphanage, in Nippon,” she recited. “I’m the only family she has, because mother and father are gone… a traffic accident, when I was little and she was barely a toddler. We don’t really have any distant family, aunts and uncles… I guess the only thing lucky about the Mirai family is the name of the street we ended up on… look. Look, my point is, you’re not a Mirai. And I don’t want you… I don’t know if I’m happy with how close you are to Eiko. And I didn’t even know she had that doll already…”

“Uh… it’s okay, it’s okay. I understand! Really. I don’t understand much, but people? I understand people,” Mallory spoke, trying to be reassuring. “I really like Eiko. She’s a bright girl, and very friendly! But I know I’m not her real brother. I’m not trying to be one — I’m just friendly to everybody. It’s guess it’s my nature. I can even be friendly to people nobody else wants to be friendly to. Sometimes it looks kind of silly, since I like people to be happy… so I apologize too much, I try too hard to please them… but in the end I’m just trying to be a good person, like my father raised me to be. And like my mother would want me to be, I think.”

“Your mother’s dead, isn’t she?” Meiko guessed.

“Yeah, she died a little after I was born,” Mallory replied, not losing his light tone. “I never got to know her. But it’s okay… because I know I’m doing my best to make her happy. I know she’s gone and she can’t see what I’m doing since she’s buried on Sleep Hill, but she was Shinto, so… if she was right about that religious stuff, maybe she can see me!”

“Golly. That’s so annoyingly upbeat of you,” Meiko said, without any real annoyance in her voice… and a little bit of a smile. “You’re really like this, aren’t you? It’s not just some big act to impress people and make them like you…”

“Umm, not that I know of. I’m not much of an actor; you should have seen me in my school play years ago. I was playing the carrot in our Salad Comedy and I knocked the bowl over… the guy playing thousand island dressing got mad and gave me a black eye!”

“Salad… Com…. noo, on second thought, I don’t think I want to solidify my mental image of that. It’s already going to be nightmare inducing.”

“Uh, sorry…”

Meiko did the eye-rolling thing. “Jeez, forget it. Alright… we gotta get home soon. Time to pick a doll. Which do you think Eiko would like?”

“Me? I don’t know anything about dolls. I just collect trading cards, comics, magazines, action figures, model kits, novelty goods and stuff like that from all around the multiverse..! But no dolls. Or do action figures count..? ”

“Collect…? Is that what all the junk is that’s in your closet? I was wondering… alright, alright…”

With a swift arm motion, she grabbed the nearest long cardboard box off the shelf, and showed it to Mallory.

“These, then,” she replied. “Current season Love & Hate dolls of Alex Gunthar and Tia Liason. She likes that soap opera, but I know for a FACT she has no toys from it. And they’re on sale, so we can easily buy the two in one box set, and… what now? She doesn’t have these, Mallory, you can quit staring at them…”

“No no, it’s that, that,” he replied, poking at the clear plastic between the manly Brad and the feminine Tia. “It comes with a cardboard moonlit beach backdrop!”

“Pretty cheap of them. The higher grade toys have plastic playsets–”

“It looks a lot like the sky over I’s Land,” Mallory continued. “Remember, when you gave me the datapad and we talked while looking at the waves and the moon? That’s really neat! It’s a place with a great memory, so that makes this the perfect toy buy for Eiko! Right? I mean, I could be wrong… maybe you should consult your F-P thing–?”

Meiko tucked the box under one arm quickly, to obscure the plastic viewing window.

“It’s fine,” she said sharply. “Let’s pay up and get moving.”

She stepped ahead of the confused Mallory, striding right up to the sales counter. And stayed ahead of him the whole way back to the house, because she was in control, she had control, and she absolutely would not let him see her blush.

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    • TASHA
    • February 14th, 2012

    Love it!!!:)

    Like

    • nikki
    • February 26th, 2012

    So I tried to like this, and I can’t because I’m not a member. LOL oooooohhhhhh well. I tried!

    Like

    • nikki
    • February 26th, 2012

    I must say, this Meiko character is quite the handful…. not sure what 2 think yet. I am intrigued 2 find out more of her story.

    Like

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